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Make the ultimate raingutter regatta racer

SAFETY FIRST: Ask an adult to help with tools you haven't used before.

A winning raingutter racer stays on an even keel, moves in a straight line, keeps the bow above water and does not drag.

If your boat does all this, it finishes ahead of any boat that can’t. Here’s how to build your winner.


  • Regatta Kit (BSA Supply No. 17090, $3.99,
  • Fine sandpaper
  • Scissors
  • Polyurethane
  • Paintbrush
  • Superglue
  • Spray paint (optional)
  • Adult permission and/or supervision


step1.jpgStep 1: Sand the balsa wood hull’s sides and bottom until smooth.

step2.jpgStep 2: Put the mast in, and bend back the mast to “rake” it a little. Take the mast out for now.

step3.jpgStep 3: Seal the hull, using two coats of polyurethane, then sand it smooth.

step4.jpgStep 4: Add the keel and the rudder. Put both on the centerline and at right angles to the bottom of the hull. Put the keel on as far back as you can, just ahead of the rudder.

step5.jpgStep 5: Glue the keel’s narrow edge next to the hull and the angled edge forward. This makes your boat harder to tip and quicker to right.

step6.jpgStep 6: If you paint the boat, keep it simple — spray paint works fine. Three thin coats make an attractive finish. Attach the mast after painting.

step7.jpgStep 7: Trim 1/4 inch off the top and 3/4 inch off the bottom of the sail. Cut a new bottom hole 1/2 inch above the old one. Clip off the bottom corners so they can’t snag the gutter.

step8.jpgStep 8: To keep the sail above the gutter, attach it so that the bottom is 1 1/2 inches above the deck. Glue the sail to the mast so that it can’t move. Attach the sail at right angles to the centerline.


No matter how well you make your boat, victory demands a skilled captain. An even wind, for instance, moves the boat faster than do frantic puffs.

Practice long, steady breaths. Your breath should hit the sail directly behind the sail and just below the center.

no.jpgIf you’re too high, blowing downward, you will force the bow down, slowing the boat. You’ll blow your chance to win.

yes.jpgPosition yourself so that you are blowing from behind the boat and slightly up, using a gentle, steady breath.

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28 Comments on Make the ultimate raingutter regatta racer

  1. Skipper Bud // May 10, 2012 at 7:34 am // Reply

    The boy is a Tiger. We followed the directions, with particular note to the keel/rudder design, raking the mast, and, most importantly, blowing techniques (even the fastest boats will not win without a good skipper), and he took the Pack Championship UNDEFEATED. This is the by far the best boat design for packs that race traditional boats (no catamarans or cup sails).

  2. Trying this year with my son. Tomorrow is the race. I hope pans out well! he is so excited.

  3. first time scout // May 7, 2012 at 5:09 pm // Reply

    We followed the instructions over the weekend and we are now headed to the races. Wish us luck!

  4. Wolf scout // May 6, 2012 at 11:37 am // Reply

    It’s going to make me win!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. AZ Lizardman // May 5, 2012 at 9:40 pm // Reply

    My son just finished his first raingutter regatta today. He took 1st place with only one loss. He was a tiger cub and transitioned to wolf. Design and ideas are great. Just make sure to glue your sail about 1″ up from the deck.

  6. Tiger cub Mom // April 19, 2012 at 11:16 pm // Reply

    Great design, my son won his first five races with this boat, and was in the top 5 winners, as the youngest and only tiger cub!

  7. Im gonna put a cannon on!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. First time doing this project for my two boys. One took first completely undefeated and the other took 5th (he is younger and did not try as well).

  9. This was a great design! We will be using it again next year

  10. tiger scout dominates // December 4, 2011 at 10:36 am // Reply

    Won all 13 races using these instructions. Undefeated as a Tiger. Beat a Webelo scout in the finals.

  11. works great but i lost, i am SURE my opponent cheated!!!

  12. Third place overall (out of 32) with only these instructions!

  13. first timer's // November 18, 2011 at 8:25 pm // Reply

    We got 2nd place against a lot of kids who had been in scouts longer. Trophy and a good night. Thanks for this easy to understand and use page.

  14. Thanks for the tips…my son just won a second place trophy thank to you!

  15. I hope this works!

  16. I falowing the steps right now im on 3

  17. My sons placed 1st and 3rd with these tips. Thanks!

  18. boy scout2011 // October 12, 2011 at 8:23 pm // Reply

    il try it

  19. i won this year with a catamaran and a cup sail

  20. Step 5: Glue the keel’s narrow edge next to the hull and the angled edge forward. This makes your boat harder to tip and quicker to right.
    The keel has no bent section to attach to the bottom of the boat. How do you do this?

  21. My son has used these directions every year and has done great! Thank you for the tips!

  22. My son won this year as a Wolf. The directions were great!!! Thank you!!

  23. Cheddar bob // August 28, 2011 at 3:16 pm // Reply

    We used these directions basically and my son took 2nd in the pack.. This included wins over 3 or 4 catamarans with no masts, etc. Thanks for the tips!

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